CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a phyto-cannabinoid. This naturally occurring compound is found in the cannabis plant.

CBD is unlike THC, short for tetrahydrocannabinol, the phyto-cannabinoid that produces the “high” associated with marijuana.

CBD and THC are just two of more than 88 different cannabinoids. Others are CBG, CBC, CBN and THCA, to name just a few.

When looking at the difference between cannabinoid products, you will find three different types: full-spectrum products contain all the different cannabinoids; broad-spectrum products contain all the cannabinoids minus the THC; and isolate products contain only the CBD cannabinoid.

It’s important to understand the difference in the products you are choosing. CBD products are not “one size fits all.”

For example, there might be two people with very similar BMI (body mass index, a measurement in weight and height) who are both suffering with insomnia. One person might need just one tiny dose while the other might need a significantly higher dose to reach the same outcome.

Optimizing CBD use can be a challenge. Adjusting doses to fit each individual’s needs leads us back to “start low, go slow,” meaning a gradual increase might be needed to reach the ideal dose for the individual.

Before you buy a CBD product, it is best to look for the certificate of analysis, or COA, which should come from a third-party lab. COA results will tell you the amount of CBD that is present in the products.

If you are looking at an isolate product, CBD should be the only numeric levels seen on the report. THC should show as ND (non-detected) or 0.00%.

The COA should also provide you with heavy metal, toxics and pesticide reports. Hemp is a bio-accumulator, meaning it tends to absorb and collect heavy metals, toxics and pesticides from soil.

CO2 extractions and organically grown hemp are good options and assist in removing these contaminants.

Is CBD safe for everyone? As this is a quickly changing industry, new information and studies are now available. CBD use is not recommended for anyone under the age of 18, or for pregnant or nursing women.

People with liver disease should not take CBD. Studies have shown when CBD is used in high doses in healthy adults, modulation of liver enzymes may occur. These elevations appear to reverse once the CBD is discontinued.

There are some pharmaceuticals that interact with CBD. It is always advised for you to consult with your doctor before starting any cannabinoid product.

Cynthia Groff, CCMA is the owner of Sativa Health Products on Hilton Head Island. SativaHealthProducts.com